Florida Steps Up Water Protection
Florida Governor Rick DeSantis stopped by the Rookery Bay Research Reserve last month to unveil Bold Vision for a Brighter Future, a far reaching executive order focused on water policy in southwest Florida.
The order proposes to tackle many of the state’s water quality challenges head on. It includes $2.5 billion to restore and protect the Everglades, as well as plans to reduce stormwater discharge from Lake Okeechobee to the coasts and recharge water supplies for Ten Thousand Islands and Florida Bay estuaries. The order also pledges to create a Blue-Green Algae Task Force and a new Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection to coordinate responses to rising sea levels.
“While the Task Force has the potential to benefit water quality for all of southern Florida, the new Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection will have the biggest effect on our Reserve and the others in the state,” says Keith Laakkonen, manager of the Rookery Bay Reserve. “As part of the new office, Florida’s three Reserves will have a larger role in coastal resiliency and serve as a hub for information and coordination of projects addressing sea level rise.”
“It’s encouraging to see Governor DeSantis’ promote such a resilient, science-based vision for Florida’s coasts,” says, Rebecca Roth, NERRA’s executive director. “Many problems that Florida experiences are felt by coastal communities served by Reserves around the country. We are excited to share lessons learned from Florida’s investments around our national system.”